While to date, California avocado growers have already harvested more of their crop this year compared to last year at this time due to market conditions and available supply, peak availability of product is expected to be between April and July.
“This year some customers transitioned to California avocados earlier than usual and many others are gearing up to do so as soon as feasible. The California crop is available seasonally, so a permanent transition is not an option,” says Jan DeLyser, vice president marketing for the Irvine, CA-based California Avocado Commission (CAC).
“Fortunately for the supply chain there was some inventory in the pipeline during the temporary ban on imports of Mexican avocados. But even with that cushion there was a surge in demand for California avocados.”
The CAC had projected about 6-8 million pounds in the first two months of the year, but through March 7, growers had already harvested 40 million.
This comes following a favorable start to the 2022 California avocado season with nice rains. “However, dry conditions returned and growers would really like to see more rain soon to help with avocado sizing,” she notes, adding that there has also been some high winds in select growing regions. However while the CAC’s latest crop forecast of 306 million pounds still holds, the weekly volumes are expected to be a little bit lighter than originally estimated toward the end of the season.
Tough times and affordable pleasures
This movement supports the notion that demand will be strong for California avocados this year, even with uncertainties ahead--everything from coming out of the pandemic to geopolitical events to spiking gas prices. “In tough times consumers sometimes turn away from high priced discretionary goods and activities and replace them with affordable pleasures like high quality food and small indulgences. Sensitivity to gas usage and transportation costs are likely to emphasize the importance of choosing locally grown produce,” says DeLyser. “Our customers tell us they want to merchandise California avocados and promote them on their menus as long as there is sufficient supply for them to do so.”
Helping fuel that demand is also the carrying on of the CAC’s “The best avocados have California in them” campaign, which will see continued media and public relations support.
Meanwhile on pricing, DeLyser says F.O.B. prices for early season California avocados have been some of the highest on record. “Many factors figure into prices and I’ve learned not to predict them. We know that avocado shoppers are willing to pay a premium for California avocados and we’re hopeful California avocado growers will receive a healthy return this season for their ongoing dedication to the nurturing of top-notch avocados,” she says.
Looking ahead, harvest will continue ramping up into April and while April through July are peak volume months, some varieties and regions typically have supplies through the end of summer/early fall. “So while some groves may finish earlier than is typical, we still expect some volume in the late season,” adds DeLyser.
For more information:
California Avocado Commission
Tel: +1 (323) 456-6751